700.5/5–1454: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the United States Delegation1

top secret

Tedul 67. Dulte 662 indicates British accept view we should move forward concurrently on two parallel lines, and they prepared to proceed immediately at least along line of military staff discussion. Assume you will be reporting more fully on British views re other parallel line of procedure.

Problem of location of talks appears to us to be closely related to problem of public impression we desire create by having talks. We strongly believe talks should be held with no publicity whatsoever. We glad British now concur that no public statement of any kind necessary and we strongly believe talks should not be initiated in manner which attracts attention and gives impression of convocation of a special conference.

As indicated above, appearance of convocation of special conference undesirable. We therefore are opposed to London or Pearl Harbor. (Spender tells me Casey prefers Washington.) Our position remains firm that talks should be Washington where highly qualified representatives already located and talks could be gotten under way here immediately without any fanfare.

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We believe prior opening five power talks Washington it desirable inform confidentially Thailand and Philippines and perhaps others regarding background these talks and their objective which is to explore means by which five powers can assist countries of SEA in cooperative effort to defend themselves. UK could similarly inform Colombo powers. Subsequently we could decide in light of progress made particularly in getting on with SEA regional arrangements, extent to which participation in military talks by other Asian countries, notably Thailand and Philippines, is desirable.

FYI, our feeling is that if talks were held in London even only to start with this would suggest that UK view non-participation Indochina war had prevailed and that Indochina tacitly written off in current military planning. At this stage, this likely have particularly damaging effect French political situation.

  1. Drafted by MacArthur of C and Fisher of WE.
  2. Dated May 13, p. 791.